Minggu, 04 Mei 2014


A Journey To The Roof of Indonesia

puncak jaya

Climbing The Carstensz Pyramid , the 4.884 meter ASL peak - the highest in Australia continent, the one said to be the most mysterious of the seven summits, 
has been a dream for every mountainers.

And just like George Mallory quotes :
There's no dream that mustn't be dared
Our guest writer Paman accomplished it last 2013 mid year. 
Vanquishing fear, thinking that each step might be the end, 
this is an expedition of a lifetime.

Day 1 - 2 : TIMIKA - SUPAGA - SWANGGAMA : Getting Along With Locals


Timika - Sugapa , July 17


After spending one night in Timika, the next morning, July 17, 2013, we’re picked up at 07.30 local time (GMT +9) using 2 cars, headed to Moses Kilani airport. First thing to do there, is weighing our body and luggages, making sure that total weight of all cargo does not exceed our rented plane’s capacity.. 

timika sugapa transport
Load Weighing
And here we were, meeting our new acquaintance, the team members: Dr.Frans- an Austrian adventurer, Trygve a Norwegian “Seven Summitter”, Christ a Canadian soldier and “Seven Summitter”. They seem familiar to adventure and have been to some of the seven summits, 1800 paradoxically to the four of us a s" local tourists". Mr T,  Mr S and me are colleagues working in the same company, while Mrs T is Mr T’s wife – obviously.  

Light rain, dark cloud,  and it was estimated that our flight will depart on 10.30.  So we went back to Timika to get some coffee at a small shop just in front of Hotel Komoro.

Then we got this  unique experience: all of a sudden a local man approached, spreading alcohol odor from his mouth… what a cowboy!! He asked for money, IDR 200k...Our guide told us not to pay him attention.  

10.30 We went back to the airport, and boarded 15 minutes later. This Trigana Airlines’s plane was a 17-seater twin otter , but nearly half of the seats were removed to give enough space for our massive  luggages. 

trigana air papua
Sugapa Airport

It took 45 minutes from Timika to Sugapa. Sugapa airport is surrounded by hills, and equipped with only 600 m runway. As we landed, many locals were there ready to ‘porterize’ . Afer all luggages have been unloaded, they started to choose which ones to bring, according to each porter’s capacity. Most of them were women and children. 

About 15 minute walk, we arrived at our homestay, a humble wooden house. Locals stood outside staring at us,  strange people from big city.
Our guide, Meldy & Poxy, arranged the payment for porter service, ranging IDR 20k-50k per person. One teenager protested and asked for an increase  as she felt the luggage she carried was a big one. This one protest was followed by another – a lady asked for additional tips for former expedition – an IDR 1 million!! Her son soon came by to back up his mother- with a sword on his hand – oh, what an unfriendly welcome !! 
porter jayawijaya
Paying porters' fee


SUGAPA is the residence of a new regency established in 2009. Today it is still desolated, accessible only by small plane. Land infrastructure is  still under construction, we saw trucks heading from and to road project. Locals  said that those trucks were flown by helicopter from Timika. Many outsiders from Sulawesi came and reside in Sugapa, mostly has a profession as grocers or motocycle-taxi driver.

puncak jaya
Grocer shop at Sugapa
 We spent  the rest of that day walking down the kampong street. Many locals passed by, wearing only koteka – a loin cloth made from dried gourd, hands carrying an arc and arrows ; their body have very unique odor, since they seldom take a bath, and smear their skin with lard to stay warm in night’s cold weather and avoid insect bites

Our guides  Poxy & Meldy are from Manado, nature lovers & university drop out (off course, they did nature expedition more than going to campus). They warned us to be very cautious getting along with these opportunist locals . As night fell, we tried to take a good rest while our porter’s leader, John, negotiated porter’s fee with the candidates.

Sugapa - Swanggama , July 18

Early in the morning we’re ready with all luggages packed. But..we still had to wait because the negotiation on porter’s fee has not been finalized ! It’s annoying that after 5 years being porters, they’re not willing to learn how to become a professional one!

Finally, at 11.30 a.m we departed by motorcycle-taxi,  drove us to the starting point. The ride took about 30 minutes trailing up and down the  hilly contoured region with many sharp turns.

The journey itself gave us another unique experience. In the middle of the road, we’re blocked by a woman with 3 armed men, hands holding spears and sword. They asked for a payment to pass through the road. And they had the tariff – IDR 10 million ! They showed no fear even though our group was escorted by 2 fully armed army officer. And they would only ask ‘trespassing fee’ from mountaineer groups. After tough negotiation, they permitted us to pass with fee of IDR 2 million! Deep inside I felt pity on them who had to live a hard life with no formal education, very limited facility, etc, etc. But what they do just fed me up. They always seek shortcut for money without willingness to improve their life skill.

IDR 2 milliom to open the blockade

We continued trailing the hill, sometimes a small river cut through the pebble road. Several minutes riding, we got another blockade, but this time they only held our guide. Later he told us , this one has something to do with the porters chosen for this expedition, which they thought was unfair for some kampong. 
Finally, we arrived at the end of the road. After saying a prayer, we started our first track to Swanggama Village. The route itself was accomplished within 2 hours in light rain through a footpath where muddy soil mixed with pig’s dirt.  
Porters soon built our tent, one tent for each of us. Mine was right in front of a  Honai – a traditional house where locals stayed together with their pigs and dogs. The Jayawijaya mountain range stands on the back, looks cold and covered by thick haze.

rumah adat papua
Honai with beautiful background

Honai is built from wood, with one small door, no windows at all, with a fireplace inside. At nights they will turn on the fireplace to fight cold weather. Just unimaginable how it is inside a honai – smoke from fire, smell of pigs and dogs, altogether with the whole family members. 

Next : Jambusiga  to Ebay - What A Challenging  Path;  Ebay to Basecamp; and Carstensz Pyramid summit attack

Read Paman's other adventure to Kerinci, the highest peak of Sumatera